We believe that mathematics should be relevant and applicable to the needs of children and their future role in society, as well as enjoyable for its own sake. We follow the guidelines laid down in the National Curriculum and in daily lessons children are taught the basic concepts of mathematics, including tables. Children tackle a range of activities and tasks, using lots of mental maths and an emphasis is put on developing a number of mental strategies to solve mathematical problems. Standard written methods are taught when appropriate. At different times children will work individually, in pairs, in ability groups and as a whole class.
The use of Maths games, investigations, problem-solving and practical activities consolidate learning. In this way children can not only work out the correct solutions, but can develop the ability to explain their thinking, apply their understanding to new situations and work with confidence developed through on sound mathematical skills.
Mastery in Maths
Mastery in maths, which is at the heart of our school’s maths curriculum, means that the children should acquire a long-term, secure, adaptable understanding of mathematics; this means that they become completely secure in each element before advancing onto the next. At each stage of their learning, they progress through small steps, in order to become competent and then accelerate their learning.
In our school, we focus on promoting five key ideas:
Coherence, where children become coherent in understanding different mathematical concepts and are competent in using relevant, accurate vocabulary;
Representation and structure, where the children explore many different ways of representing numbers, calculations and other contexts, in order that it expands the way that they think and see things;
Variation, where children are encouraged to look at different contexts and explore similarities and differences, therefore making links between them in order to aid their learning
Fluency, where children rehearse basic skills in order to recall facts and information quickly;
Mathematical thinking, where children look for patterns, make links, find relationships and connections, reason logically, explain and prove their findings.
Big Maths is a scheme that we use to develop children’s mathematical fluency and recall of facts and ideas. It is based upon five principles:
Counting (children learn to count and to ‘count on’)
Learn Its (children recall their ‘counting on’ as facts).
It’s Nothing New (children then ‘swap the thing’ to realise that the counting fact, or ‘Learn It’, can be applied to any object, amount or unit of measure).
Calculation (the previous 3 phases are combined to provide a calculation structure).
When using Progress Drives we will follow a 5 stage model that puts the child at the heart of the learning experience:
This has four main areas:
One of the key teaching strategies from Big Maths is to provide children with a ‘brain only’ way of solving questions. However, the development of mental maths is not left to chance, there is a deliberate and strong structure that leaves all children empowered to think quickly, accurately and therefore successfully! This happens through a three part process called FAB:
F is for Full: We start off with a full written method that is high on understanding.
A is for Abridged: Now we take the writing away, gradually, over time while training the brain to hold numbers in the head.
B is for Brain: Finally, children are left with the ability to solve the question with nothing except their mind.